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In this course, photographer and author Ben Long explores the art and the craft of creating beautiful, archival-quality inkjet prints. The course looks at the anatomy of a print job: how a printer works, how to adjust and prepare your image to get the best results, and what happens to your photo in its journey from pixels to paper.
After a discussion of how to choose a printer, the course covers the process of preparing both black and white and color images using Adobe Photoshop. Ben describes how to take images from looking good onscreen to being properly adjusted for best results on paper, covering details such as sizing, sharpening, and color management.
With photographer and master framer Konrad Eek, Ben explores the creative decisions that photographers should address before printing. What size print? How does print size relate to the message of the photo and to the space where the photo will be displayed? What kinds of paper choices do you have, and how does your photo's content relate to the paper you choose?
The course also describes how to properly evaluate a print and how to handle common challenges that crop up during the printing process.
As with most things, your printing will improve as you get more practice. Some of that necessary practice is mechanical, getting better at driving your image editor. While some of it stems from improving your print aesthetic and your understanding and recognition good tone, color, and contrast. You'll be well served by practicing and experimenting with those print-specific image adjustments that we worked at learn your histogram. Remember to check your blacks and whites and experiment with expanding your midtones and remember to apply individual edits to each differently lit area of your image.
Practice, though, can also come from looking at other people's prints. When you look at a photo book or any image that you like, see what you learn about how black, white, and gray are used throughout the print. Conversely, when your see a print that you don't think is very good, try to figure out why. Is it because the black isn't black enough? Is it because there's no true white? Is the color slightly warm or cool? Personally, I find printing to be a lot of fun. But I think you might also be surprised to find how printing affects your shooting. As your understanding of tone and color improves, you'll be able to better pre-visualize prints while you're out in the field with your camera, and that might give you a very different view of your subject matter or even help you recognize new subject matter.
So don't think that the end of this course is a stopping point. You're really just getting started. Load up some more images. Practice with some more prints and have fun.
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